The primary after a presidential election typically is something less than an afterthought, but what happened in polling places across the suburbs of Philadelphia last week might qualify well as historic.
As many Democrats showed up to vote in an off-year election in Delaware County as Republicans, who have dominated local government for more than a century. That was unprecedented, said David Landau, head of the county Democrats.
In Montgomery County, more than 50,000 Democrats showed up to cast ballots -- double the 2013 number.
After being devastated by the loss of the White House in November, party leaders in the politically pivotal Philadelphia suburbs say they are jubilant over what they see as the first tangible sign that months of Trump rage might be turning into electoral muscle.
Delaware County GOP chief Andrew Reilly acknowledged a Trump effect. "This happened because the frustration, the perception, that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president," Reilly said. "We expected it."
It’s not that Republicans stayed home; their numbers were comparable to other off-year elections, based on unofficial returns. It’s just that Democrats came out.
Ordinarily, the primary after a presidential election is a pro forma exercise involving low-profile or ignored races for judgeships, county and municipal offices and school-board seats.